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Telling friends about abusive relationship


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I've recently come to realize that I've been in an abusive relationship with my husband. We've been separated for 6 months now. I have a hard time telling friends and family about it. It's difficult to tell the truth about the relationship without painting him in such a negative light. What makes it harder is telling our mutual friends. They're all shocked that we separated to begin with, because our relationship seemed perfect. Unfortunately, this was only when we were out with friends, but at home it was a different story. He puts up this charming front in front of everybody that it's hard for them to believe that he's capable of being abusive. Not just that, he has pre-empted the whole situation by telling people about my "bad" beahvior, and telling people how I called the cops on him once after a terrible fight where he blocked me from leaving our apartment.


I'd love to reach out to these friends, but I feel this distance from them, as if they don't want to "catch" this divorce bug. Thankfully, my immediate family and my best friends are on my side, it's just the mutual friends that I've been having trouble with. I don't want them to choose sides and I realize that I may have to give them up. It just makes me sad...

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This is tough since he has been already bad mouthing you. Just stick to the facts when asked what happened or why you divorced. You can say that you did some research online and found that your relationship was described perfectly by signs of abuse: link removed


If they ask tell them some of the things he did. It can be hard for people to accept that someone they know is an abuser. But if they take his side they are not people you want in your life. Also, a lot of people see abuse only as broken bones and black eyes. They don't get it can be a lot of other things.

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I would just stick with your best friends and family right now. Don't bad mouth him even if its true. Wait until mutual friends reach out to you. Talk to a counselor about the abuse for now. You will lose some friends - it always happens in a break up but there are others that will learn the truth elsewhere now or years later when they figure it out. it might help to figure out something short to say if someone asks why you separated if someone asks - just a sentence or two that is factual - and it will help you immensely to not rehash every detail.

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I'm sorry to hear about what has been happening to you. This is an all too common scenario for victims of abuse. Your abuser is trying to alienate you from any support network you could establish. Furthermore, if no one will corroborate your story, it is easier for your husband to supress his guilt, because in his mind, as long as no one knows, it didn't really happen. It's a truly toxic and dangerous situation, and since you are being forced to play a submissive role, you probably don't realize the extent to which this is all a conscious power play for your abuser. Don't make the mistake of feeling sorry for him in any way, but also be weary of identifying as a victim and exempting yourself from abusive behavior yourself. It is often the case that an abuser is so adept at manipulating other uninvolved parties that it is difficult to identify who is the victim and who is the abuser (this seems outrageous, but it does happen.) Don't dwell too much on your lack of support from friends and family, even the worst storms will eventually pass, even though you might be reminded of the fact that they weren't there for you when you needed them most.


I think that is a global, social concern that will eventually be addressed, and it is getting easier for abuse victims to speak out and find a safe pace to heal. Don't necessarily blame your friends and family for being a little weak in this regard. It's cruel to ignore your obvious need for support, and soooo incredibly painful but it is the current reality of the stigma of domestic violence.


I have been a victim of preemptive lies and manipulation at the hands of a very callous, unrepentant, calculating abuser too. It is the most frustrating thing when you can't even begin to heal because no one will even acknowledge the crime that was commited against you. I lost hope for a long time because of that but in the end, i am starting to forgive others because i need them in my life to be happy, and finally I'm getting to the point where I might be able to forgive them for how much they turned the other cheek.


As you get on your feet emotionally, people will start coming back into your life and that can really make you feel jaded and depressed. Friends come and go, and not many people can be trusted. Not many are willing to stick around when the chips are down, whether it's a serious illness, getting laid off, or the myriad misfortunes that can befall us. Worst of all are those who only stick around when we're miserable. I've had my share of those friends too.


Just try not too take it too personally, sometimes it is more that the situation is stressful for them rather than the fact that they are actual accomplices to the abuse. You might be alone in your life but on here you have support!! If you need anything don't hestitate to ask me.


It's hard, but even if it feels false, focus on the reasons you want to leave the abusive relationship, and live a happy life. Let all the negativity fall away, you don't even have to talk to the people who don't support you and bring you down. You don't have to burn any bridges, just get some space, make new friends who don't see you through your husband's filter.


If you have people who don't see you through your husband's eyes, you'll see that you truly aren't the bad person he tries to make you out to be.

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Oh I also wanted to add, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. I used to think that I was taking the high road by being silent, and it added to my resentment and anger when other people couldn't see that I was a good person who didn't deserve to be treated like that (obviously, no one does, but there are those who think that it always takes two to create a dysfunctional relationship which we both know really isn't the case.}


If you make your case firmly, without drama or histronics, and with evidence, you might see those people start coming around to your side. However, they might just be disgusted by the whole situation and not want a whole lot to do with either you or your husband. But at least your husband won't be getting a free ride anymore. If you tell your story in a cohesive, well organized way, you'll put that kernel of doubt in their minds. If you can, record your most private conversations with your husband, the ones that make it clear he is the abuser. It's really hard to catch them once you become aware of how you trigger their abuse, but eventually it will happen and if you're lucky you'll have evidence of it if you stay conscious of the situation.


All you need is that initial kernel of doubt. If they eventually see you flourishing and healing once you are out of that marriage, that'll be all the proof you need.


It is important that the outside world validates your experience. I spent so long feeling guilty and needy for needing that validation but once I got it from just one person, I started to move on. Now it's like I live in a whole new world. I really wish you the best because it was the most difficult thing I have ever done, especially when nobody wants to hear about it and you basically have to lie and hide so much of yourself.


Don't lose hope. Someday this will be a memory. You just have to get through the intial shock of all of this becoming a reality. No matter how shameful or embarrassing the truth may seem, you never chose this. Your husband took advantage of you, and you can't take the blame for his actions any longer. You deserve to be free, and no one in the world should make you feel like you need to stay silent. Just imagine like 100 years down the line when people are progressive and this wouldn't be an issue. Be one of the pioneers.


Well, there is so much to say but I know neither of us is going to figure it all out in a day. Hugs! I hope you feel like someone cares and believes in you!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just wanted to write a belated apology after rereading your original post, and realizing you already had an adequate support network in place! I think I must have started replying before I read the last few lines since your situation really spoke to me. Sorry if it sounded like I was just projecting! I really just wanted to help.


I'm very glad to hear you have people who believe you and are willing to stick by you. Your mutual friends may come around with time. Sometimes it's too painful for them to face the truth, even if they know it deep down. At least that's what I prefer to believe. Stand your ground and you'll get through it.


All the best in your healing!! When it comes to healing, all you need are a few good friends and your family. You are so incredibly lucky to have that, I certainly didn't. I think it's important to look at your other relationships, to rule out the possibility that they might be unhealthy, unbalanced or toxic too. Victims of domestic violence can find themselves in many social situations where they are taken advantage of.

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